Aug 16, 12, 2:52 pm
Day 1 very late arrival ANC - get car and sleep, if can get on earlier flight, check out ANC
Day 2 drive to Denali, stay at lodge near entrance, check out visitor center
Day 3 take Denali *shuttle* bus all the way? or not? for day, then drive to Talkeetna vs sleep at Denali
Day 4 wake up in vs drive to Talkeetna take plane glacier landing, drive to Soldotna/sleep?
Day 5 Fish Soldotna (recs?)/sleep
Day 6 Fish Soldotna/sleep vs drive to Seward and sleep(or Homer, or Whittier, or ANC)
Day 7 Kenai Fjords cruise vs 36glaciers cruise based on weather (very prone to seasickness....)
Day 8 evening fly home
thoughts, too much driving?
I feel like it's so hard to commit to different hotels or lodges, when you don't know what weather will be like, or how tired you will be.
First of all, I never plan my activities in Alaska based on the weather. I plan on rain every day but then am glad if it doesn't. I always pack a rain jacket and rain pants.
What is your arrival date, i.e. how late in August are you arriving? The fall colors in Denali should be spectacular.
Also, depending on your day of arrival, if you arrive Sunday through Friday evening, you might consider waiting until the next morning to pick up your car off-airport. It might (or might not) be significantly cheaper than on-airport rentals (mainly due to the heavy taxes and fees for on-airport rentals). A taxi from the airport to your hotel will be maybe $20 and you might save a lot more than that waiting until the next morning to get a car.
Are you traveling alone?
>>Day 2 drive to Denali, stay at lodge near entrance, check out visitor center
Buy groceries in Anchorage or Wasilla for your time in Denali NP.
It is only about a 5 hour drive from Anchorage to Denali. Since flightseeing is often canceled due to weather, I would book flightseeing for this day in the afternoon. Say 3pm? After the flightseeing drive to Denali, pick up your shuttle bus tickets. If the visitor center is still open, see the exhibits and film there.
>>Day 3 take Denali *shuttle* bus all the way? or not? for day, then drive to Talkeetna vs sleep at Denali
I would not try to take a shuttle bus on Day 3 and drive to Talkeetna (3 hours?). I would book the shuttle bus to Wonder Lake but then decide the day-of how far you will go. The area from Toklat to Wonder Lake is almost all tundra, so it should be ablaze in colors in late August. It is 11 hours round trip from the entrance to Wonder Lake. Many people get scared about this. But I will guarantee you the time goes a lot faster than you expect. You stop every 90 minutes or so for rest stops, and longer at Eielson in both directions.
If the weather is terrible, if you are getting bored, or if you want to do a longer hike on the return, get off at Eielson and catch a different bus back to the entrance. This is MUCH better than booking only to Eielson and trying to "upgrade" to Wonder Lake (with dozens of others having the same idea).
>>Day 4 wake up in vs drive to Talkeetna take plane glacier landing, drive to Soldotna/sleep?
It would be a long drive from Denali to Soldotna, one that I would not recommend. The drive south of Anchorage is beautiful and it usually takes me 2-3 hours just to get 75 miles with all the stops (and I have done this drive multiple times over the years). Why not take Day 4 and drive to Girdwood? This is about 1 hour south of Anchorage (not including the many scenic stops you might make!). Also, if there are slow RV's, construction or an accident, the drive can be hours longer than expected. Also, you want to use Day 4 as your backup day to flightsee from Talkeetna in case this got canceled on Day 2.
Day 5 you can take the PWS tour in the afternoon from Whittier and afterward drive to Soldotna or Seward. Is there a reason you want to do the fishing in Soldotna? If not, I would skip that and try to do the fishing in Seward instead.
Day 6 fish?
Day 7 fish? Sealife Center? Resurrection Bay tour? I think the Kenai Fjords tours of 6 hours or longer are great but you need to take precautions for seasickness since it can be rough for a while in the open ocean. The bay tour only gets you to a couple of bird rookeries, sea lion haulouts, sea otters and if you are lucky a humpback whale.
When on Day 8 do you fly out? If after about 9pm, you could drive on Day 4 to Girdwood, Day 5 to Seward and on Day 8 take the PWS tour before driving back to Anchorage.
Aug 16, 12, 3:32 pm
I'd second the recommend to stay in Denali after Day 3. With that being said Alaskan Highway's aren't like the highways there a lot slower and you may want to make photo stops as well.
Aug 16, 12, 3:48 pm
thx for the help i got some homework this weekend!